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The Commission would welcome submissions of written evidence from any interested parties.
Austerity, budget cuts and the limitations of the existing system of local government taxation are placing strains on local services. Such pressures lead to an increased need for joint working and inter-dependence. The financial framework which underpins the provision of council services is outdated. Welsh local government receives income from a complex mix of general grants, specific grants and a local taxation which is severely constrained. Local accountability for tax and spending decisions (and public understanding) are, arguably, becoming weaker. The country needs a local government finance system that makes it easier for councils and their local partners to tackle these problems.
The Commission will examine:
The Commission would welcome written evidence from any interested parties.
We encourage responses that are brief and to the point (ideally 2-4 sides of A4, with annexes attached if you wish to include supporting information), answering only those questions where you have particular expertise or interest.
Please e-mail your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, if you would prefer to post your responses, please send to:
The Independent Commission on Local Government Finance Wales Secretariat
Local Government House
Cardiff, CF10 4LG
The Commission would like to receive responses by Friday 16th October, though will consider responses received up to 30th October.
Responses will be published on our website, along with a list of names or organisations that responded to the Call for Evidence.
If you want information that you provide to be treated as confidential (and not automatically published) please say so clearly in writing when you send your response to the consultation. It would be helpful if you could explain to us why you regard the information you have provided as confidential. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances. An automatic confidentiality disclaimer generated by your IT system will not, of itself, be regarded by us as a confidentiality request.
What do you consider to be the strengths and weaknesses of the existing system of local government finance in Wales?
What should the objectives of central funding be?
What kind of grant system should support those objectives?
Are grant distribution mechanisms fit for purpose and what changes would be desirable?
Will the potential structural reorganisation affect the operation of the system?
Would it provide an opportunity for a parallel financial reform?
What additional pressures do rurality and deprivation introduce?
Are any reforms required to the system of capital expenditure determination and funding?
Is council tax fit for purpose? What reforms might be made, if any?
Is the non-domestic rate working well? What reforms might be made, if any?
Would you favour local government in Wales taking control of additional taxes? If so, which ones?
Should incentives for growth play a greater role in the funding system?
Could fees and charges be used to a greater extent than at present
How do reductions in council expenditure affect the sustainability and quality of services?
Might different financing arrangements (not additional resources) improve the outlook?
Are there issues relating to the finance of housing which adversely affect local government?
If so, do you have suggestions for change?
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